Episode 85 with Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Father John Bartunek, LC, was raised in an atheistic family and found his way to Christianity and then to become a Catholic priest in the Legionaries of Christ.

He shares with us his journey and discusses his book, Spiritual but Not Religious: The Search for Meaning in a Material World.  

Anti-Religious Upbringing

Father describes how his parents were divorced; his father had remarried and divorced again. They never went to church and sports was their “god” while growing up. His father had an adversarial view of religion. Fr. Bartunek went to a nondenominational church as a teenager, but his father found out, sat him down, and forbade him from going to church. He felt his son was being brainwashed.

His love of history and love of Catholic art and architecture stirred his soul and eventually led him on a spiritual search that brought him closer to God.

Being Spiritual and Being Religious

Do you know someone who says they are “spiritual but not religious?”

What are problems with being “spiritual” and problems with being “religious?”

When someone says they are spiritual, they're suggesting that they've had an experience of transcendent value that has moved them deeply. They are not religious because their experience of religion has not been religious, and perhaps has even been negative. Their perception may see religious people as “checking the boxes,” but not emanating the love of Christ, and not living a life that shows they have had a true religious experience.

One can know of Christ, but not know Christ.

People Need Hope

Spiritual growth is a journey of taking the truths we know in our head and transferring them to our hearts.

Our world is so noisy, overcommitted, and hurried that it is difficult to cultivate a life of prayer and spiritual growth. Father feels our main values today are that of a post-Christian society due to all its challenges. We must work to be true witnesses of Christ and spread these treasures to a searching world.

How to Emanate God’s Love

Father speaks of how we must be a people that not only “check the boxes” but radiate God's love in all situations.

God’s love calls us to show compassion and be the light of the world. Satan wants us to be confused, angry, unforgiving, despairing, and discouraged. It is all part of the spiritual journey. Everything we do we must radiate God’s love. We must be a people of joy and hope. This requires learning the faith, prayer, and then living the faith.

Pope Saint Paul VI said that the world needs witnesses more than teachers.

Fr. Bartunek is the author of many books, all available at rcspirituality.org.

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